As a fan handed Bono a copy of his band’s famous album “The Joshua Tree” to sign inside the Annenberg Theater, the U2 singer and Nobel Prize nominee smiled.
“That’s not that far from here, you know, where we took that photo,” he said Sunday afternoon, Jan. 5.
The iconic cover of the Irish rock band’s breakthrough album was shot in Joshua Tree National Park, just down the freeway from where Bono and guitarist The Edge were the biggest attraction at the 25th annual Palm Springs International Film Festival over the weekend.
On Saturday night, the pair accepted the Sonny Bono Visionary Award, which U2 received for its members’ humanitarian work, at the annual star-studded awards gala alongside actors such as Tom Hanks, Meryl Streep and Julia Roberts.
On Sunday, they appeared as part of the festival’s “Talking Pictures” program for a Q&A session after the Nelson Mandela biopic “Mandela: Long Walk to Freedom,” which featured the U2 song “Ordinary Love.”
Even though they were arguably the biggest stars in attendance, with more than 150 million albums sold worldwide, Bono and The Edge were impressed by the fanfare of what has grown into one of the pre-eminent film festivals in the United States.
“It was amazing,” The Edge said about the awards gala during Sunday’s Q&A session. “We’ve been kind of what we describe as ‘being on the oil rig’ for the last while. We’ve been in a recording studio working very closely with a very small group of mostly males, so to come out to such a glamorous event — the red carpet and all these beautiful ladies and their amazing dresses and the photographers and everything — it was kind of overwhelming.
“We were suddenly — ‘Oh, I remember this now,’” he said as the audience laughed.
“We don’t get out much,” Bono quipped.
The pair also talked about the name similarity between Bono (pronounced Bah-no) and former congressman, singer, Palm Springs mayor and film fest founder Sonny Bono (pronounced Boh-no).
“It’s actually very hard for me to say ‘Boh-no,’” The Edge said.
“Not in this town, The Edge,” Bono fired back with a smile.
U2’s Bono said he first met Sonny Bono in an elevator in New York, but didn’t know who he was meeting at the time.
“The door opens; he gets out, and he just turned around as the doors were closing and he goes ‘It’s Boh-no, by the way,’” Bono said.
The U2 singer’s reaction: “Who’s that dude?”
“This little old lady said, ‘That’s Sonny Bono. Who are you?’” he recalled as the crowd laughed.
More pics here.